Congress Passes First Joint Budget Agreement in 6 Years

For the first time since 2009, Congress is in agreement on its fiduciary goals for the country. This month, the Senate passed a budget agreement, the first joint budget resolution to be passed in six years.

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The proposal passed 226-197 in the House of Representatives and 51-48 in the Senate. All Democrats in the House and Senate voted against the agreement.

The proposal outlines deep cuts in domestic spending to eliminate the deficit within the next 10 years. It keeps in place the across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester, but adds nearly $90 billion to a supplemental war fund that is not held to the budgetary curbs.

“No budget will ever be perfect, but this is a budget that sensibly addresses the concerns of many different members,” Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, said in a press conference.

There are, however, few indications these spending cuts will take hold in the immediate future. Budget resolutions are used as an outline to set spending levels on future separate appropriations bills.

President Barack Obama has said he will not sign any spending measures that keep the sequester in place. He has also said he wants to see equal increases in military and domestic spending.

White House press secretary John Earnest said the budget proposal would hurt middle-class families, which rely on the domestic programs Republicans hope to cut.

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“Congressional Republicans propose drastic cuts to programs that support the middle class and provide ladders of opportunity for those seeking to reach the middle class,” he said.

Also included in the budget was a procedural tool for passing bills known as reconciliation. This measure allows for legislation to pass through both chambers of Congress with a simple majority vote. Most bills will require 60 votes to overcome procedural challenges, and Republicans currently control 54 seats.

Republicans say they plan to use this tool to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, despite the Obama’s vow to veto any legislation intended to unravel or repeal the health care law.

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